New program to give $4 million to small businesses in Raleigh

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — The City of Raleigh will launch a new program this month to provide financing and technical assistance to small businesses.

This effort is part of a partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

City leaders say the program, Oak City Business Labswill use $4.2 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding received by the city.

Officials say small businesses can receive up to $30,000 in funds.

“While many small businesses have been able to weather the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many continue to struggle to fully recover,” Raleigh Deputy City Manager Evan Raleigh said in a press release. .

What are the requirements?

The money can be used for warranty upgrades, debt repayments, equipment or vehicle rentals, specialized training or certification expenses, technology and equipment purchases, and more.

Small businesses that receive the funds will be required to participate in technical assistance and training in areas such as capital, supply chain connectivity, business operations and marketing.

City leaders say it’s part of an effort to help small businesses achieve their long-term goals.

“Many of our small businesses are still grappling with the impact of COVID-19, and as our economic landscape changes, it’s increasingly important to equip businesses not only with the tools necessary for recovery, but also tools for resilience,” said CEO Kevin Dick with the =Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

Businesses that need more funding than the maximum grant level also have the option of working with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

This additional technical assistance will help small businesses obtain affordable loans in addition to grants, according to a statement. It is not required as part of the grant application.

Will my business be eligible?

To qualify for the funds, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a for-profit business located in Raleigh, NC
  • The company must have been in operation since March 1, 2019
  • Annual revenue cannot exceed $5 million according to the most recent corporate tax returns
  • Business must submit at least a 25% gross revenue deduction OR business must submit a minimum 15% gross revenue deduction AND had to suspend operations due to COVID-19 for at least 60 days
    • To demonstrate the gross income deduction: Compare the 2020 business income tax return, or 2021 if filed, with the 2019 income tax return as a reference.
  • The company must not have active bankruptcies or tax liens
    • Note: For sole proprietorships or partnerships, there can be no active personal bankruptcy or active business bankruptcy.
  • Franchises are eligible if the franchisor is independent and locally owned
  • The company must have 50 employees or less
    • Businesses under common ownership with other businesses, with 50 or fewer combined employees
  • Applicant cannot be behind on North Carolina state income taxes
  • Applicant cannot owe any overdue taxes to the City of Raleigh

Ineligible businesses include:

  • Non-profit organizations
  • Real estate investment companies
  • Lobbyists
  • Businesses that previously received funding through the City of Raleigh Small Business Relief Fund

You can find the official list of eligibility requirements here.

For more information, you can also register for a virtual information session scheduled for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom.

City leaders say applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are exhausted.

The Oak City Biz Labs program is set to launch on July 15.

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